Despite being Cult of Mac’s resident comic book fan, I’ll admit that I was apprehensive about Gameloft’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
A movie tie-in (strike one), based on a sequel to a totally uninspiring reboot (strike two), and developed by a team who haven’t always had the best reputation for turning out quality products (strike three) — those three facts combined meant that my spider-sense regarding which games to be excited about, shouldn’t have exactly been ringing at the prospect of this title.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to (believe it or not!) Gameloft’s 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man. That game was actually better than many expected, however, and from the looks of the sequel’s teaser trailer, the developers have been hard at work to make this a stronger follow-up.
So is it as “Amazing” as the title would have you believe?
As with most of Gameloft’s titles, graphics are this game’s strongest point. Taking place in an open world New York City environment, the game recreates the look and feel of the movie. There are six districts to explore, ranging from Times Square to Central Park, and these are are well captured.
The graphics are at their most impressive when you’re swinging through the streets — descending to street level so that your feet almost skim the pavement in one moment, and then gracefully swinging to the top of a skyscraper the next.
The graphics are at their most impressive when you’re swinging through the streets…
Draw distance is above average for this type of game, and despite the city being a little too lifeless, combined with a low resolution texture here or there, Gameloft has done an admirable job.
Spider-Man himself looks great, as do the key villains (other characters can look a bit blocky), while animation is generally very smooth. I particularly like neat little touches such as Spidey kicking off from buildings when he happens to swing too close. Fight animations appear fluid, and there are more animations than in the original game.
Gameplay is more of a mixed bag. Essentially, it’s a mixture of RPG elements, open world exploration, and on-rails gameplay. The first two of these work very well. The RPG elements (pictured above) allow you to modify Spider-Man in a number of different ways, while as noted the game’s open world quality is a real strength.
The on-rails bit comes from some of the gameplay elements, which feel too much like quick time events for my liking. Sure, iOS games are generally simplified versions of their console big brothers, but being asked to just tap a certain part of the screen at the right time takes a lot of the strategy and skill out of what would otherwise be some very memorable set pieces.
Gamers hoping for an immersive storyline will also likely be disappointed. While more story-heavy than the previous game, missions still feel thrown-together and lack an overall cohesiveness. A certain repetitiveness can also creep in, which makes it a game better suited for short bursts than long gaming sessions.
In-app purchases are present, but are generally managed tolerably, so that you don’t have to shell out more money if you don’t want to. With that being said, the IAPs that the game does offer are charged pretty ridiculously. Being asked to spend $18.99 for the variant Iron Spider-Man suit is crazy — and I’d genuinely love to know who it is that is splashing around their cash in such a way that Gameloft think this is acceptable pricing.
Ultimately the biggest sticking point for most gamers is likely to be Gameloft’s insistence that you have a constant Internet connection in order to play. I do most of my iOS gaming from home, so this isn’t an issue for me, but if you’re on the move a lot it’s worth considering before you download. Gameloft is apparently motivated by anti-privacy measures, but it seems a clumsy way around the whole issue that is likely to annoy a large number of legitimate players.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn’t close to one of the year’s best iOS games, but it’s a fun experience that won’t let down anyone looking for a fun Spider-Man game to pass the time.
Maybe they could’ve called it The Perfectly Adequate Spider-Man — although you can see why a marketing team might rule against that.
|Game Name: The Amazing Spider-Man 2|
The Good: The graphics are generally great, and the open-world environment is fun to explore.
The Bad: Certain aspects of the gameplay are less fun. IAP prices are ridiculous.
The Verdict: A far better game than some might expect. Not perfect by any means, but still a lot of fun to be had.
Buy from: App Store